Beyond Blocking Sidewalks

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Scooters1.jpg

The pervasive invasive nature of the rideshares is getting on everyone’s nerves. San Francisco is not a simcity gameboard that anyone should be allowed to test their latest idea on. This is the lineup of companies listed in the article, minus Razor. Scoot is on the streets now. Ridecell is an autonomous vehicle company and should not be included in the list of scooter rideshares.

Scooter companies claim their devices reduce S.F.’s dependency on cars — but that doesn’t mean they’re clean and green.

It’s been more than six weeks since San Francisco demanded that three scooter companies — Lime, Bird, and Spin — pull their hundreds of unpermitted vehicles off city sidewalks and apply for operating permission from the SFMTA. Since then, more than a dozen companies sent in their requests for the 1,250 scooter spots, making their case in PDFs spanning anywhere from 24 to 117 pages.

Investors, CEOs, and scooter enthusiasts wait with bated breath to see if the SFMTA will select Bird, Hopr, Jump, Lime, Lyft, ofo, Razor, Ridecell, Scoot, Spin, UScooter, or Skip — or a combination of several —  for its pilot program, but the city is in no rush to make a decision…

Leading the charge against the rampage of the rogue motorized scooters is Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who drafted a vital piece of legislation limiting scooter companies’ presence on city sidewalks, and who has not minced words regarding his distaste for the “act first, ask for permission later” attitude…

Making massive profit always trumps protecting the public, and innovation is only possible by cutting corners,” Peskin said during a Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting in April. “Our laws, the very foundation of our democracy, are here to be scoffed at, and San Francisco is only here to quite literally — pun intended — be given the bird by tech CEOs who jump from one company to the next after they overstay their welcome.”... (more)

If you think the scooters are green or healthy for the planet because they are taking cars off the street, ready the entire article. The author did his own research without any help from the tech CEOs and what he found does not agree with the claims the CEOs of these companies and their supporters are making.

This is a good time to send your letters to the Board of Supervisors to let them know how you feel about these corporate entities taking over our streets and sidewalks. Link to the Supervisors.

Don’t forget the State representatives and the CPUC. Remind them that you vote and they need to listen to you. If you would like to do learn more about what goes on at the state level, follow Livable California.

Regulating merging tech companies has not proven easy or successful. Now that they are merging and emerging under different business models the companies may be more difficult to control if “their properties and privileges” can be easily manipulated under the present contracts.

Judging by the poor job of contract writing and management we have seen so far coming out of the SFMTA where the street projects are concerned, we hope the Board of Supervisors will insist on some truly independent oversight and strong legal language that will allow City Hall to pull out of future agreements if unforeseen circumstance, or better options, arise.

We need to avoid future public/private partnerships in favor of actual payments for the privileges of doing business on our public streets and sidewalks. How many enterprising projects can one city agency run at one time? SFMTA needs to stick to running the Muni and get that right before they expand.

We also need to insist on better reasons for doing business with these enterprising startups than claims that they are lean and green and taking cars of the street. Most of the traffic these days appears to be theirs not our.

Thanks to Peskin and Fewer for their leadership, and we look forward to more support from the rest of the supervisors and our new mayor.

 

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2018 mayoral candidate questionnaire: Mark Leno

hoodline – excerpt

Mark Leno interview re: how he anticipates supporting small businesses:

Many small business owners we interview complain about the city’s permitting and approval processes. What are your plans for making it easier for San Franciscans to become entrepreneurs?.

Today, one of the greatest roadblocks to the expansion and success of our small business community is the difficulty many face when working their way through our permitting and approvals processes. No small business owner or prospective entrepreneur should have to hire an expediter to do what city government itself should be doing. Far too often I’ve heard from small business owners who find themselves forced to pay for services that city government should provide. As mayor, I will be looking closely at the many hurdles our small business community faces, including the permit and appeals processes.

Rising commercial rents have driven many small businesses out of business, leaving vibrant corridors with an abundance of vacant storefronts throughout the city. Furthermore, delays and construction costs on transit improvement projects have been a major source of frustration – for residents, merchants and visitors. As a small business owner, I absolutely understand the negative effects merchants in the impact zone are facing.

One of my first priorities will also be to ensure there is a small business voice on the SFMTA, where the lack of small business representation is so clearly hurting our small businesses citywide. One example of this impact can be seen in the ongoing delays of the Geary BRT. Small business owners and prospective business owners along Geary struggle with the uncertainty of the completion of a project which would greatly affect their ability to attract and retain customers amid construction. SFMTA should be working with business owners to ensure important decision-making takes into consideration the impact on merchants and merchant corridors… (more)

Mark Leno promises to shake things up if he is elected Mayor and we anticipate some new faces at City Hall if that happens, as the status quo is obviously not working for the average citizen. The status quo is turning San Francisco into a corporate sports and entertainment arena. Our biggest effort to compete with Time Square for gaudiness is a giant pulsing tower raised to the skies.

Regardless of who is elected Mayor we will have new Commissioners and Board members. Hopefully new SFMTA Board members would consider unwinding the corporatization of our streets that has flourished under our current Board and, if it is Mark Leno, he can use some influence in Sacramento to suggest for changes to the PUC and state legislature. For some time we have been pointing to the PUC and we will continue to point that way until someone gets the message and takes action at the state level to reign in the corporate takeover of our state.

SF supervisors thumb noses at SB 827

By Michael Toren : missionlocal – excerpt (includes video)

Board of Supervisors candidate Sonja Trauss escorted off by sheriff’s deputy after wading into crowd of opposing protesters

Sonja exposed

Trauss exposed. Officers separated the two sides though they did not stop the vocal YIMBY chants from disrupting the speakers. Trauss exposed photo by zrants.

Following dueling press conferences, protests and counter-protests, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday went on record about SB 827, Sen. Scott Weiner’s bill in the California legislature that would reduce restrictions on height and density for residential developments near transit lines.

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Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin spoke in opposition to SB 827 photo by zrants

They don’t like it… (more)

Scott Weiner’s SB 827 loses. Residents, homeowners, and city officials win this Will Scott Wiener and the rest of our representatives in Sacramento get the message Aaron Peskin tried to send that the help we need from the state is: Repeal Costa-Hawkins, Amend the Ellis Act and send buckets of money to help solve the homeless problem. We do not a state takeover of local jurisdiction and constant CEQA amendments. There are hundreds of entitled projects in the pipeline that are stalled for physical reasons that have nothing to do with permitting.

As anyone attempting to do any repairs, remodeling, or building knows, there is a severe labor shortage in the construction industry, and importing foreign labor is not easy. There is a shortage of materials and costs are going through the roof due to federal manipulations and an impending trade war. Higher interest rates are drying financing options. The legislation may want to consider how to solve these problems instead of harassing local communities.

RELATED:

Wiener endorses Breed as battle over SB 827 heats up

Move puts state senator on the same side as group that has attacked his longtime friend and mentor, Mark Leno… (more)

SB 827: Land grab in South L.A. communities of color

Not since the “Urban Renewal” projects of the 60s has something so radical and detrimental been proposed…

You will be hard-pressed to find a bill in the state legislature proposed by a Democrat that is a bigger threat to the stability of our community than SB 827, authored by state Sen. Scott Weiner, R-San Francisco…(more)

Note these Southern California residents refer to Senator Wiener as “Republican Senator Scott Weiner”.

Campaign trail: Wiener’s upzoning bill becomes issue in SF mayor’s race

by tim redmond : 48hills – excerpt

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Most of San Francisco would be up-zoned to by SB 827, as indicated by the orange areas on this map, supplied by the Planning Department.

Kim takes a strong stand against measure that would raise height limits and density all over town

Scott Wiener’s bill to strip cities of local zoning and allow more housing density is becoming an issue in the SF mayoral campaign…

Sup. Jane Kim held a rally this morning in West Portal, with neighborhood leaders denouncing SB 827.

Her move comes after Supervisor Aaron Peskin put forward a resolution urging significant amendments that may lead to a statement of formal opposition.

The Planning Commission heard a presentation on the bill this afternoon.

Wiener appeared on KQED’s Forum this morning, saying that his bill is about “un-banning apartment buildings” near transit stations…

Kim told me today that she can’t envision any amendments that would make the measure acceptable…

So far, London Breed is a full supporter of SB 827.

Mark Leno says he can’t support the measure as it’s currently written, but is open to amendments:…

The supes will vote on the Peskin measure soon. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party voted unanimously to oppose it. This one isn’t going away…(more)

Housing bill raising local control fight

By Austin Walsh : smdailyjournal – excerpt

San Francisco senator’s most recent bill drawing mixed perspectives from elected officials, others

The ongoing battle between local control advocates and a lawmaker seeking to overhaul state housing policy ramped up over a recent proposal seeking to incentivize residential development near public transportation.

Senate Bill 827, authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, served as the most recent catalyst for debate between the local legislator and those wishing to preserve the authority of local elected officials when considering housing proposals.

Wiener, who represents San Francisco and a slice of northern San Mateo County, said the bill loosening density regulations near public transit stops could combat the state’s affordability crisis. Most notably, the bill aims to boost allowable building height limits in certain cases to a maximum 85 feet, while also exempting qualified projects from local parking and density limits…

Critics though claim the proposal merely seeks to take away the ability of city councils, planning departments and other local representatives traditionally charged with guiding community development.

“The biggest issue is stripping away planning documents and handing this decision over to developers,” said Jason Rhine, a legislative representative with the League of California Cities…

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, lent his support to Wiener’s most recent effort, while also noting the need to keep an eye to local control…

Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, meanwhile was reticent to lend his support to Wiener’s bill while it is still in its formative stages…

State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, also was reticent to take a position on the most recent bill, with an assumption it will continue to take shape over the coming weeks and months…(more)

You may want to contact the above representative with your concerns about SB 827. Emails according to the format are linked above.

 

 

Milicent Johnson voted new Planning Commissioner

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexmainer – excerpt

San Francisco’s newest Planning Commissioner is Milicent Johnson, after a unanimous Board of Supervisors vote Tuesday to approve her appointment by Mayor Mark Farrell.

Farrell appointed Johnson to fill the seat formerly held by Christine Johnson, who is running in the November District 6 supervisor contest.

Milicent Johnson describes herself in her application for the post as a “forward-looking leader” with experience in developing programs “that support equity and social change in vulnerable communities.”

Johnson works for Women Donors Network. Before that, she worked for the Tipping Point Community and helped steer grants toward issues of homelessness and criminal justice… (more)

San Francisco delays Mission housing over potentially historic laundromat

By

“We do not know for certain how long that will take,” says Supervisor Hillary Ronen

Laundry is a waiting game, and now the the owner of the Wash Land laundromat at 2918 Mission will have to wait even longer to find out if he can raze the circa-1924 building in favor of a 75-unit housing development, after the Board of Supervisors put off a vote on the project to determine whether or not the facility is historically significant.

The housing proposal, in the works since 2014 and approved by the Planning Commission in December, invokes California’s state density bonus law to go over and above the zoning for the block…

The planning code states to grant a conditional use the’ project is necessary, desirable and compatible with the neighborhood. This project has none of the above(more)